Individuals with eating disorders often express frustration because other people in their lives who have never had an eating disorder, just don’t seem to fully understand how difficult it is to live with this disease. Furthermore, once you have lived with an eating disorder, its often very difficult to imagine life without it – to imagine being recovered.
The Center for Eating Disorders’ 2009 Fall Awareness event, on Sunday, October 25th, helped to address both of the above scenarios. Featured keynote speaker, Jenni Schaefer, visited Baltimore and spoke to a crowded auditorium about her own struggles with eating disorders and, most importantly, about her own triumphs – she is now, as her shirt said: “Recovered.” (Emphasis on the period.) Jenni has written two books on the subject, her most recent – Goodbye Ed, Hello Me -was the topic of her talk.
Jenni Schaefer, author of “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me”
Jenni’s presentation resonated with those in attendance in a way that helped the parents, spouses, and friends without eating disorders begin to understand what it is like to live with “Ed”, a term she uses to personify her eating disorder and the role it played in her life. Additionally, for the many individuals in the audience who also struggle with their own “Ed”, Jenni provided hope and proof that it is possible, even after struggling for years, to overcome an eating disorder.
Jenni discussed various stages of her recovery, including “mediocre recovery” and how it can be very easy to get comfortable at different stages when you are still hanging on to small, yet significant, symptoms of your eating disorder. She assured the crowd that “it gets so much better” once you make the commitment to be fully recovered. Jenni also acknowledged the “Societal Ed” that perpetuates a focus on weight and size for everyone, even those without eating disorders; she offered helpful advice in dealing with these social pressures.
Following her presentation, Jenni answered several questions from the audience, posed for a picture with CED staff (above), and spent a great deal of time signing books and speaking individually with many of the people who attended the event. It was an inspiring day for those who attended and we are so grateful to Jenni Schaefer for spending the day at The Center for Eating Disorders.
To see more photos of the event, please visit our Facebook page at: http://facebook.com/eatingdisorderhelp.
The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt sponsors a community awareness event each year in the fall as well as other outreach events throughout the year. If you would like to receive information about these events via email, please request to be added to our email distribution list by sending a message to EatingDisorderInfo@sheppardpratt.org or call (410) 938-5252.